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Friday, June 21, 2024

Handling the Undead movie review (2024)

The understated filmmaking fits the intriguing premise: What would realistically happen if the dead started coming back to life? “Handling the Undead” is based on a novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, whose “Let the Right One In” and “Border” take a similarly grounded approach to their supernatural elements. The reactions of the characters to the freak electromagnetic event—portrayed here as a power surge that fills radio waves with static and interrupts the fight patterns of migrating birds—that returns their recently deceased loved ones to them are realistic as well. 

That is to say that they’re sad, desperate, and irrational. When Mahler (Bjørn Sundquist) hears his dead grandson banging on the lid of his coffin, he doesn’t scream. He fetches a shovel and digs the boy up. When Elisabet (Olga Damani) gets out of her casket and wanders home to her partner Tora (Bente Børsum), Tora is shocked but happy to see her. And David (Anders Danielsen Lie) is confused when a doctor tells him that his girlfriend Eva (Bahar Pars) was dead, but now she isn’t. But he chooses to latch onto the hopeful part of the doctor’s statement, not the disturbing one.

Add “The Worst Person in the World” star Renate Reinsve as the despondent mother of the undead boy, and you’ve got a symphony of frozen grief and false hope playing out over 97 somber minutes. As an audience, we know that the characters’ optimism is doomed. We’ve seen one of these movies before. That lends a heartbreaking sadness to scenes where characters embrace their dead loved ones, whose appearances range from slightly “off” (Elisabet’s back is purple, from her blood pooling as she laid in her coffin) to full-on zombie makeup in the style of a George Romero film. 

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HomeReviewsHandling the Undead movie review (2024)

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